The instability of the housing market, and tightened credit guidelines for new buyers, may be a factor, but today's younger generation prefers paying city rents to buying homes elsewhere.

Despite rising rental prices nationwide, Gen Y "doesn't hold home ownership on a pedestal the way prior generations did," Ryan Severino, Senior Economist at Reis, a research firm analyzing commercial real estate told MSNBC.

Severino said that young professionals in strong "technology-oriented" job markets, such as New York and San Francisco, prefer to rent apartments in-town despite high rents. He also indicates that this attraction has been the "driving force" behind climbing rental prices.

Boston, Seattle, and Denver, have also experienced apartment prices benefiting from the desire of these workers to stay renting, rather than moving to outward lying suburbs where home ownership may be inexpensive by comparison.

"Even in places like Providence (Rhode Island) and Knoxville (Tennessee), which you don't think of as hotbeds for apartment activity, landlords felt the market was strong enough to raise rents on their tenants," Severino said.